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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Rage (2010)

One of the things I enjoy about being a movie reviewer is having the opportunity to see films I may not normally get to see in the theatre.  One of the ways I get to do this is when a director agrees to send me a screener copy of their movie so I can review it.

Dennis Twist starts the day of thinking that the most trouble he's going to have is the emotional outburst from his mistress when he breaks up with her.  Unfortunately, a chance encounter with a biker takes him down a road that can only end in death... either for the biker... or him and his wife...

My friends from "Film Reviews From the Basement" reviewed this movie not too long ago.  About the same time, writer/director Christopher Witherspoon agreed to send me a copy for my own review.  He actually worked as part of the MMI Crew on the 1985 movie, "Re-Animator," as well as a stunt double on the film "Black Santa's Revenge," in 2007.  Other than "Rage," Witherspoon also wrote and directed a 2004 movie called, "Middle Man."  Since I'm always looking for those films that push the boundaries, or offer something different in the horror genre, I readily agreed to view the movie and record my thoughts.

This is a well made movie, to be honest.  The use of  interesting camera angles, editing, and even the application of various effects filters all combined to make a very professionally crafted piece.  The visual pace is quick when it needed to be, and slower when it needed to be in order to give us that build up on tension and the sudden release of it.  Witherspoon is really skilled at visual storytelling.  I liked how some scenes were grainier than others, and the black and white flashbacks were good too.  The only complaint I had with the visuals was the fact that you don't get to see much in the way of grue when the Biker uses the chainsaw on the old couple- though the use of the camera to show shots of the blood on the walls and the old man's face was still pretty good.

Rick Crowford plays Dennis Twist- the man who incurs the rage of the Biker.  He looked good in the role, but I had some trouble liking him.  I found him to be a little depressing and almost TOO passive for most of the movie.  Even when he does finally stand up for himself, he has to be saved by someone else. And to be perfectly honest, if I had been in the situation where I find out that someone (the Biker) has cut my brake line... then beats the tar out of me in the restroom of the mechanic shop, I would say, "Screw the wife finding out about my mistress- I'm going to call the cops and stop this guy before he kills me."  I simply wouldn't have let it escalate further after the first attempt on my life.

I liked Audrey Walker in the role of Dennis' wife, Crystal.  She doesn't get much screen time, but plays a major role story-wise- especially in the last 1/2 hour or so.  She looked like the sort of woman you see on the street everyday- not supermodel gorgeous, but attractive nonetheless.  The scene at the end when she just starts whaling on the Biker with his own knife was great.  I especially liked the way she then stood over Dennis with the knife.

The director, Christopher Witherspoon played the Biker, and brought some elements of Michael Meyers to the character.  He never once said a word, but you could tell by his body language what his intent was: to cause you as much torment as possible.  His ability to just sorta be there out of nowhere was very much in keeping with the feel of "Halloween," and movies like that.  Just a fantastic job.

If "Rage" had the budget to show us some of the grue during the chainsaw sequence, and if the main character hadn't been so depressing and passive, I would definately watch this over and over again.  As it stands, though, I'd watch it maybe once a year.  It's certainly worth being watched at least once by fans of low budget, but well produced indie horror films.  I'm giving, "Rage" a spot in "The Bad".

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